by Alexa Oliphant, Platform Media Group
photography by Amy Graves

In what could be an industry first and a harbinger of theatrical release patterns to come in a post-pandemic world, leading entertainment communications and events group A-List Communications, has been serving up social distance-optimized and CDC guidelines-compliant Pop-up Drive-Ins to Hollywood as a solution for film studios and independents as means to promote their films in advance of theatrical and digital releases not benefiting from in-theater trailer promotions or other typical promotional tools. 

While a handful of companies have been tying into pre-existing drive-ins situated in outlying areas, A-List Communications is more boldly focusing on building drive-in pop-ups in more convenient metro centers, allowing the films to be enjoyed on a big screen with an audience as intended, but implemented with recommended national and local safeguards in this pandemic environment.

First out of the gate for A-List Communications has been a multi-city drive-in premiere roll-out of Picturehouse’s faith-based historical drama FATIMA, directed by Marco Pontecorvo (Game of Thrones; LETTERS TO JULIET) and starring Alba Bapstista, (WARRIOR NUN); Joaquim de Almeida (FAST FIVE); Harvey Keitel (THE IRISHMAN, GET SHORTY) AND Goran Visnic (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO; ER).  A-List transformed the parking lot of the legendary Hollywood Palladium into a drive-in theatre for Sunday evening’s premiere. Guests were treated to a rare cinematic treat in our new normal, as the guests enjoyed the historical drama from their cars, complete with pre-packed and sanitized complimentary concession boxes and film-titled branded masks. Marco Pontecorvo introduced the film via video to a socially distanced but enthusiastic crowd that included everyone from filmmakers, cast members,  influencers and community enthusiasts—including nuns.

A-List’s FATIMA tour kicked-off with a private VIP drive-in at the site of this year’s Super Bowl—the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on July 13—where guests drove on to the field and watched on the four large Jumbotronâ screens.   The tour continues with a custom-built pop-up in Simi Valley, CA today, July 21; Friday, July 24 with a private showing with the Hamptons Film Festival’s Hamptons Film Drive-in Summer pop-up; at Soldiers’ Field in Chicago on July 28; and then several other dates created in parking lots of some larger church partners in Atlanta, Boston, New Orleans and others to be announced—all before the film’s cinematic release starting August 14.

A-List Communications’ CMO David Manning conclude, “We’re really delighted to blaze new ground and work with partners eager to make bold steps to support important films in this new normal. The pop-up drive-in model provides a platform for safe, outdoor theatrical distribution of a feature film that, like theatrical releases in pre-pandemic times, activates and builds the audience for wider release. We’re currently in discussions to produce more pop up drive-ins nationwide with other studios and distributors.”